Fight skin cancer for just 10 bucks a month? You can, with vitamin B3, according to new research from Australia.
The study found that nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, may reduce non-melanoma skin cancers by 23 percent when taken twice daily.
The research is scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on May 30. Findings presented at meetings are generally considered preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
"It's safe, it's almost obscenely inexpensive, and it's already widely commercially available," senior author Dr. Diona Damian, a professor of dermatology at the University of Sydney, told HealthDay.
The most common form of cancer in the U.S., 5 million cases of skin cancer are treated every year, she said.
According to Damian, earlier studies indicated that nicotinamide can provide skin cells with an energy boost, enhancing DNA repair and strengthening the skin's immune system. The researchers designed their study to test whether this would help protect against skin cancer. The study included nearly 400 high-risk patients who had had at least two non-melanoma skin cancers during the previous five years. Two thirds were men, and their average at was 66.
Half of the group took nicotinamide twice daily for a year. The other half took a placebo. Dermatologists checked for skin cancer every three months.
The people taking nicotinamide showed quickly. “"This reduction in skin cancers seemed to start as early as the first three-month visit," Damian said. By the end of the one-year study period, new non-melanoma skin cancer rates were down 23 percent in the nicotinamide group compared to the placebo group.
Last year, a Spanish study found that a B3 derivative may prevent liver cancer in mice.